Regional

Illinois to Missouri border.

Brent Bohlen

Just over the border into Indiana sits the town of Vincennes.  The relatively small community boasts a big name as its favorite son.  Comedian Red Skelton hailed from Vincennes and, if you visit, you can learn a lot about his life and career.  An interactive museum shows off props from some of his most favorite characters. 

flickr/lewismarien

Employees with a dredging contractor are working around the clock to remove sediment from the bottom of Lake Decatur as part of a $91 million project.  

The Decatur City Council approved the six-year project last February. It's being carried out by Great Lakes Dredge & Dock and is expected to increase the lake's capacity by 30 percent.  

The (Decatur) Herald & Review reports that a 220-foot dredge collects sediment and pushes it about eight miles through a submerged pipeline to a 523-acre sediment site in Oakley.  

Watch Decatur City Limitless

Photo: Gary Price

This year marks the 40th anniversary since the fall of Saigon.  An event coming up tomorrow night will provide accounts of the war:

  • May 19, Vietnam: First Encounters

A panel discussion on the fall of Saigon in April 1975. Panel members include Tom Jones, a Navy Corpsman assigned to the Marines; Tom Bowman, an Army enlisted man; and two Vietnamese boat people, Patrick Lam and Pham Thien Khoc, an officer in the South Vietnamese Army. Moderated by Mark DePue, head of the presidential library’s Oral History Program.

www.imrf.org/volunteering

The Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund – a local government pension fund, is pushing an effort this year to get more of their members to help out others. We spoke with the head of IMRF, Louis Kosiba, about it:

For more info, click here.

Landmarks Illinois

One of Springfield’s oldest homes faces demolition unless a new owner is found.  The Condell House on South Fourth Street has been vacant for about 30 years.

Steve Myers Vice Chairman of the Springfield Historic Sites Commission says the goal is to find a new owner soon before a part of history is gone.

Burpee Museum of Natural History

Freelance travel writer Mary Galligan's latest article in the Illinois Times focuses on Rockford and the museums based there. 

She visited the Rockford Discovery Center Museum, considered one of the top children's museums in the country. 

The Burpee Museum of Natural History has an impressive display of dinosaur exhibits. 

Stephenson County Animal Control officials say a northern Illinois woman charged with animal cruelty has turned 84 dogs over to officials.  

 Animal Control Warden Kristen Laue said 45-year-old Tina McKinnon of Freeport turned the dogs over Wednesday.  
 

According to the Journal Standard in Freeport,  McKinnon was charged with felony aggravated cruelty to animals after the animals were found in her home March 16.  
 

WUIS

The University of Illinois Springfield will celebrate Earth Week (April 20-24, 2015) with a variety of events designed to educate students, faculty, staff, and the community about the environment.

All of the events listed below are free and open to the public.

Monday, April 20 

flickr/JeffCovey

Heavy rains in the spring often lead to complaints in Springfield over water in basements.  This mostly happens in older areas of the community.

"Most of the system was never designed to be able to transport or convey 50 year storms.  it was more designed on a 5 or 10 year storm. That being said, there are places in the city that don't perform on a 5 or 10 year system either," said Sewer Engineer John Higginbotham with Springfield Public Works.

Let Freedom Ring March

Apr 9, 2015

Bells rang out as students made their way from President Abraham Lincoln's home to the Old State Capitol. 

April marks the month that both Lincoln and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. were assassinated.

I talked with one of the parent educators from Jefferson Middle School; Monica Walls Butler says it's important for young people to know their history. 

Can you really know someone you've never met?  Chris McDonald developed a bond with a man who lived a century ago through reading letters he had written, many from the front lines of World War I. 

McDonald worked with the family of Kent Dunlap Hagler to publish the works, which are far more literary than most teenagers could accomplish, now or then.  The book "Three Lying Or Four Sitting - From The Front In A Ford" takes its title from Hagler's time with a military ambulance unit.  It's references how many could be transported at a time.  

Langfelder campaign

Springfield's next mayor will be Jim Langfelder.

Langfelder defeated Paul Palazzolo 55-45 percent. Langfelder, who has served as City Treasurer, will replace Mike Houston.  Only about one third of registered voters turned out in Springfield. 

Frank Lesko topped Rianne Hawkins for City Clerk.  

Misty Buscher, a banker, won for Springfield Treasurer.  She beat city alderman Frank Edwards. 

Springfield councilman Sam Cahnman lost his bid for re-election in Ward 5 to Andrew Proctor.  

Lincoln Half Marathon

Springfield motorists traveling across town Saturday morning, April 4 should be aware of likely traffic delays between 7:30 am and 11 am.  About 2,000 participants from more than 30 states will be on Springfield roads that morning running along a 13.1 mile route that starts and finishes downtown, goes past Lincoln sites and through the Washington and Lincoln Park neighborhoods. 

The course can be viewed on an interactive map at http://www.usatf.org/routes/view.asp?rID=538358.

Tim Landis talks with Bill Wheelhouse about 10 national conventions coming to Springfield this year:

APL

Spring is here... and love is in the air.

But that's not necessarily a good thing when it comes to stray and feral cats.  This is the time of the year when unwanted litters wind up at the Animal Protective League in Springfield.  Last year, about 1,000 animals were brought to APL.  Only about half are adopted.  The no-kill shelter has launched an effort to help the situation.

Savethemill.org

For decades, the Mill restaurant was a mainstay along Route 66 in Lincoln.  Known for its fried schnitzel, as well as its architecture resembling a small Dutch windmill, the Mill remained open until 1996. 

It sat vacant for a decade, but was saved from demolition. Fundraising led to repairs.  But more work is needed.

WUIS

People with autism can sometimes find it difficult to interact with others. That can make getting a job even harder. But there is a place where on the job training can open the horizons of both workers and customers.

If you find yourself off South Sixth Street you may have missed The Noll Café located at the Noll Medical Pavilion in Springfield. The café ran by The Hope Institute offers healthy alternatives for morning and lunchtime patrons.

Flickr/Images_of_money

The Springfield area is mirroring national statistics on home sales.     

The latest monthly report from the Illinois Association of Realtors shows February home sales in Sangamon county totaled 153. That is an increase of 4.1% over the same time last year.  Those numbers fall in line with national statistics showing an increase of 4.7% in existing homes.

Illinois's numbers overall weren't as good. Sales were by 1.7% statewide.

In Sangamon County, the median home price was nearly $2,000 lower then a year ago. The median price in Sangamon County was $116,900.

Wikimedia Commons/Aivazovsky

If you want to learn about something, you need to listen to people that know about it.  And if what's going on in the world piques your interest, a good place to start is the World Affairs Council of Central Illinois.   

Weekly sessions on various topics get underway Tuesday, March 24 as part of the Great Decisions series. 

Frank Kopecky is on the board member and a retired UIS faculty member. He spoke with WUIS' Sean Crawford:

The weekly series takes place at the Laurel Methodist Church at Walnut and South Grand in Springfield.  Here is the full list:

Brent Bohlen

In our most recent Midwest Travel segment, Mary Bohlen visited the Quad Cities and tells us about some of the interesting and fun sites to see. 

You can read her latest article in the Illinois Times.

beatlesbooks.com

On this week's Business Report Tim Landis tells us what's filling up some of the warehouse space at the old Capitol Records facility in Jacksonville.  Also a major church construction project is underway and a century old Springfield firm closes.

flickr/JennDurfey

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has added an extra layer of regulatory protection for a central Illinois aquifer by declaring it a primary source of drinking water.  

The EPA on Wednesday said the Mahomet aquifer is primary water source for more than 750,000 people in central Illinois. That guarantees extra scrutiny of any project there that includes federal finances.  

Il Dept. of Corrections

A suburban Chicago man who spent 20 years in prison for abduction and rape has been exonerated after DNA evidence indicated he was wrongfully convicted.  

Despite the decision Monday by Lake County prosecutors to drop the case against 41-year-old Angel Gonzalez of Waukegan, the man was not allowed to walk away from Dixon Correctional Center.  

Gonzalez attended the hearing in Lake County Court. But he was sent back to Dixon, where he still faces a three-year term for a late 1990's conviction of damaging state property at another prison. 

Illinois Issues

Documents show Illinois has a nearly $130,000 contract with a Chicago engineering firm to evaluate the closed, taxpayer-owned Eagle Creek Resort on Lake Shelbyville.  

The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises (http://bit.ly/1F9slHf ) newspapers reports Globetrotters Engineering Corp. will take a look at what it could cost to make repairs and reopen the resort. That includes evaluating the condition of floors and the potential cost of upgrading electrical systems.  

The company's contract with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources lasts through September.  

School is canceled today in:

Springfield Schools

Rochester

Ball-Chatham

New Berlin

Pleasant Plains

Tri-City

Auburn

Edinburg

Petersburg-PORTA

Athens

Jacksonville

Greenview

Beardstown

A-C Central

Triopia

Taylorville

Lincoln Land Community College delaying opening until 10 a.m. at all campuses

Benedictine University delaying opening until 10 a.m.

Springfield Mass Transit District has suspended bus service.

200 years ago, the eruption of the Indonesian volcano Tambora caused global climate change. It led to the creation of states in the midwestern United States, the book Frankenstein and deadly disease.  Bill Wheelhouse talked with Gillen D'Arcy Wood, author of the book Tambora: The Eruption That Changed The World:

The book is published by Princeton University Press.

Gillen D'Arcy Wood

What does a volcanic eruption in Indonesia 200 years ago have to do with Illinois?  In addition to killing 100,000 people and eventually leading to cholera outbreaks across the globe, that eruption may have led to Illinois becoming a state.

Springfield police say a report of an attempted child abduction Tuesday afternoon turned out to be false.

Ball Chatham school officials sent a note to parents earlier today urging caution and asking for the public's help in the case.  An elementary school student said he was approached by a man as he left his school bus at his home.  The student indicated he ran from the man.  

Police say the person identified by the student  was interviewed.  They say the incident did NOT occur as originally reported and that was no contact with the child. 

Midwest Travel: Hyde Park - Mr. Obama's Neighborhood

Feb 16, 2015
Luiz Gadelha Jr./flickr

Our series on midwest travel continues with a look at Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood. 

Mary Galligan is a freelance travel writer whose latest article for the Illinois Times explores Hyde Park.  It's known now for being home to President Obama and his family, but there is a lot more to this area.

Read Mary Galligan's article in the Illinois Times.

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